24 March 2006

Linkfest from among the wadded-up tissues

For actual real-life posts, please scroll down. There's lots of new whining and complaining to be had. This post is what you get when I am stuck at home sick (cue the tiny violins) with no TV.

This great post from Another Mommy Moment is something that will have many women nodding their heads and saying "I hear ya, sister." An age-old lament. And this meditation on how to be who you authentically are on La Vie En Rose is worth reading, too.

You Tube continues to amaze. This simple little video of hand break dancing (thanks, Kottke) is special in that it captures the exact rhythm and movement of full-body break dancing...with just fingers. Clever.

And now for our political section. Novelist Jane Smiley kicks some Republican ass and takes names over at Huffington Post. Always a pleasure.

Meanwhile, The Smoking Gun reveals Vice President Dick "Shooter" Cheney's rockstar-like backstage demands...is anyone surprised that he only wants Fox News on the box? Or the lights left on? (Global warming be damned! Someone as important as Mr. Cheney shouldn't have to be bothered by exerting himself to flip a switch.)

A more enlightened newshound, The Dalai Lama, says he listens to the BBC, in this Shambhala Sun interview with Pico Iyer.

I'm with him. I don't think there is a better news source in the world today. I love listening to the Beeb on the radio at 6 pm Pacific, when calm British voices are telling me "It's 2 o'clock GMT" and knowing that somewhere in London, BBC news announcers are working through the wee hours for my edification.

And another thing: now Congress is on to the illegal immigration issue. A Bright Shiny Object to distract us from the disastrous Iraq war, illegal wiretapping, etc. Pay no attention. No one in power wants to do a damn thing about illegal immigration. If they really wanted to, they would cut off remittances to Mexico and Central America and that would pretty much shut the whole thing down, no need to build walls. But they never will. Personally, I am all FOR immigration, illegal or otherwise. The brave, smart, hard-working people risk all to come here while the dunces live in squalor at home. We get goods and services at a fraction of their regular price. I am more worried about job immigration overseas. WILL I EVER SHUT UP? Yes.

Do I want to get into the whole weight issue? I feel a little bit too tired and sick to write anything meaningful, but if you want to read for yourself, check it out: I think Morphing Into Mama started it, Homesick Home added a poignant and personal note to it, and I Blame the Patriarchy and readers of Pandagon took up arms.

All I can say is that I have been right in the middle of that one myself, and one of the commenters hit home: it wasn't about weight, it was about control. My reaction to someone trying to control me? Same as my reaction to most stress: Eat more. It's counterintuitive, like one of those Chinese finger traps. To get me to lose weight, quit nagging me about my weight.

And finally, scroll down to the bottom of this post at Granny Gets A Vibrator for some real-life inspiration to get to the gym and get in shape. Is she amazing or what?

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

When my cardiologist told me I would need more tests a few weeks ago (has anyone ever come out of a cardiologist's office NOT needing more tests?), I remembered my mom telling me her stress test had been $1400. So I made sure to ask the receptionist how much it was going to cost.

"The test is $250," she said.

I called on my rudimentary math skills and quickly calculated that my 20 percent of the bill would be $50. No problem. Done. Scheduled. Test taken.

I just got the bill in the mail. My portion is 983 dollars.

Huh? Oh, yes, in addition to the $250 test there were 4 other tests totalling over $1600 and of course everything wasn't fully covered and then there's the deductible, you see, so...$983.

Now I have to go confront the receptionist about this. I love confrontation. There is nothing I adore more than arguing with people over money and what they were supposed to have said and how they are going to claim they never said that. Oh yes, I live for stuff like this.


I once parked three blocks from my house and made cell phone calls until the pool cleaner guy left because I didn't want to confront him about not showing up for four weeks in a row and leaving the pool a leafy, stinking mess. THAT's how much I love confrontation.

And it's Friday and I'm sick, so I get to sit here and stew in my own stomach acid until at least Monday. Please commence to feel sorry for me now.

Update: I just realized something. I work for an insurance company. A rather large insurance company. I am no longer a lonely little patient. I am someone who has an address book filled with the names of everyone from the lowliest claims analyst to the CEO. And if I have been lied to about the cost of procedures by my doctor, don't you think at least someone in our company might be interested in that? Tee hee. This might be more interesting than I thought. Wish me luck.

23 March 2006


Check out the perfection that is the red stapler. I just got it in the office supply shipment. Warning to future employers: never give me purchasing power.

Well, I can justify it - my old stapler was a plastic piece of crap that made me waste about a half hour a day what with the pounding and yelling and the unjamming and all. So this was necessary for my productivity, and now my life is complete
Yes, suddenly, everything does seem better.

Now for the photo round-up from the Phoenix trip:

Proof that I did indeed drink too much at the airport:

Is that an evil curl in the middle of my forehead, or what? It looks like Satan styled my hair.

And proof positive that Mr. Stapler was enjoying some adult beverages himself:

I just love that slightly insane European film director look he has going on. You might not guess that he spends about 20 hours a week making really cool spreadsheets. He has a love for Excel that knows no bounds. He has not, to my knowledge, ever produced any films.

The funnest thing in Phoenix besides baseball and the botanic garden:

Indoor kart racing. Noisy, but fun. I just like sliding around the corners but the boys are there to WIN.

One for the moms: In case you need your tears jerked, here is a real tear-jerker. Get out your kleenex and listen to this NPR interview by a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome. He is asking his mom everything he wants to know about her and how she feels about things. The sweet, sincere way they talk to each other about important stuff had me bawling in my car on the way to work.

In addition to a red stapler, I got something else: another cold!! Yay. My last one was less than 3 weeks ago, so I am especially pleased. This one is a doozy, too. I am having absolute FITS of uncontrollable sneezing and I am wondering just how much liquid can possibly leak from one person's face. My eyelids are chapped. I know, I know - how could my life possibly BE more glamorous than it already is.

I don't normally get sick a lot, and I'm not really good at it. It turns my normally sunny (oh quit laughing) personality into a little sour puckered grape of a thing. I am a big whiny wimp. Thank you for listening.

I don't have any paid time off left, thanks to my recent Phoenix trip. Should I go in and infect all of Cubicle Land tomorrow out of sheer peevishness? I am still deciding how evil I want to be.

Update: remember back in February when Mr. Stapler was telling me what a colossal waste of time blogging is? Well, he started a blog. It is super secret or I would send you there. I just had to share my moment of gloat.

21 March 2006

"Who the F are you?"

I wasn't going to write this next post. The scene was just too ouchy and fresh for me to share...but then I read what Izzy had written over at Moonshine about her fears of going to gatherings of bloggers:
"Like a recurring dream, I have this vision of me going up to other well-known bloggers and saying 'Hi I'm Izzy. I read you all the time. I love your blog.' and they respond with nothing but a blank stare and a polite half-smile, as if to say 'Yes, but who the fuck are you?' Shoot me now."

Here's my story from my vacation: My cousin's son Doug is a major league baseball pitcher. My huge extended family is not particularly close and I have only met Doug a couple times before, mostly when he was very small, but we chatted a year or so ago when he was playing in Los Angeles, where he was very nice.

I spent the past four days in Phoenix at baseball spring training. I didn't let Doug's dad know I was coming, but my mom said she did. I didn't know if I would have time to see him and I didn't know if he would be pitching.

But on Monday, he was scheduled to do his team a favor and pitch at a minor league game. Perfect. We went out to the park and were two of only about a dozen spectators (the major league training games attract 5,000-10,000 people but no one goes to the minors).

I was wearing my jersey with Doug's number on it that Mr. Stapler got me for Christmas. I know I looked absolutely dorky, but I figured I had to wear it to A) show family pride and B) let Mr. Stapler know I was appreciating his gift.

Doug was stretching in this little fenced area. Mr. Stapler said "Well, are you going to go say hi to him?"

I walked up and said "Hey, Doug," and he gave me the look that Izzy spoke of in her blog post.

"Uh, I'm your cousin Sue," I stammered.

"Huh?" he said.

"Yeah, my dad is your great uncle Bernie."

"I don't know any Great Uncle Bernie," he said, looking annoyed, as other players stood by, looking at me like I was the weirdest baseball stalker on earth as I stood there with this jersey with Doug's name on it and him having no idea who I was.

Is my feeling of absolute embarrassment and stupidness and being-picked-last-in-fourth-grade-ness leaking through the computer screen yet? Because it is a day later and I am still completely marinating in it.

I went on to blather about the long complex chain of how we were related, not making a bit of sense, I think, and he waited me out.

Then he said, reluctance dripping, 'I'll talk to you later, ok?"

I'm not just embarrassed for me. I'm embarrassed for putting my obviously clueless cousin through this exchange, too - he clearly had no idea who I was, he just got signed to a big contract, and he probably has been warned about maniacs claiming to be relatives that climb out of the woodwork.

He pitched a few innings and I was so mortified sitting there that I couldn't keep myself from blurting out words like "Stupid!" and "Urk!" as I went over the conversation again and again in my head. I wanted nothing more than to flee but Mr. Stapler was really into watching Doug pitch.

After they took him out of the game, I didn't stick around to see if he would actually talk to me later. I left as fast as my short little legs could carry me, wadded up my jersey with Doug's number on it and tossed it in the trunk of the car, trying to forget, but knowing I never would.

20 March 2006

What was I saying?

I'll wait and maybe post about vacation when I can download photos at home...I'm using Mr. Stapler's work laptop that doesn't have a good program to deal with photos.

I have been saving about 400 articles and links in my email. Here's the roundup:

Good lord I love Elliot Spitzer. Forget being governor of New York - will the man please run for president? He seems like the only government official I ever hear about who is actually working on behalf of the people. Here's what he has been doing lately.

Here's one of the funniest and sickest sites on the web: Steve, Don't Eat It. Steve does, in fact, eat it - whatever terrible thing it may be. Then he describes it - potted meat, pickled pork rind, whatever - in terrible, hilarious detail. Good stuff.

This is my life - I buy stuff, can't figure it out, and then return it. Or most likely I don't, because I can't find my receipt.

And here's my entry for Father of the year. It's one of those things that just makes you shake your head, or scream, or both.
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